Academic Enrichment Day
At St Faith’s our ambitious programme of Academic Enrichment Days (AcE Days) and our Enrichment Week (E-Week) in the Summer term, form an important provision of our all-round education. The activities for the children on AcE days which often explore environments beyond the classroom, encourage the pupils to make links between topics learnt in different curriculum areas, as well as developing interpersonal, communication, teamwork and leadership skills.
During our AcE Day yesterday, Ancient Egypt was the focus for our Year 3 pupils. They visited the nearby Fitzwilliam Museum and were enthralled the Egyptian Galleries. Back at school the children enjoyed building pyramids, making scarab beetles out of clay and designing hieroglyphics. Meanwhile the pupils in Year 4 were very busy working on their pantomimes, which will be performed towards the end of the Michaelmas term.
Year 5 pupils visited The Centre of Computing History in Cambridge where they learned about early home computers and programming in BASIC. Year 6 enjoyed a ‘Rivers’ Day and collected some primary data at nearby Hobson’s Brook. Their aim in doing this was to help them answer the question “Does Hobson’s Brook behave like a normal stream?” As well as consolidating their knowledge about river processes learnt in the classroom, the children worked in teams as they experienced geographical investigation at first-hand.
As budding young engineers at St Faith’s, our Year 7s are already well experienced at finding solutions to problems with ingenious ideas. However, AcE day provided an opportunity for pupils to focus on noticing problems that affect others from different walks of life and to consider more inclusive design solutions. So our pupils looked at products engineered for people with disabilities of varying kinds, and they discussed how products could be more user-friendly to the elderly. The pupils were then tasked with inventing something that is useful and inclusive for all, ending the session with a presentation of their product to the rest of the group.
Also as part of their Enrichment Day and to complement their PSHCE lessons this half term, Year 7 have been exploring different ways to look after their mental health. They have enjoyed a variety of practical sessions, including modelling in clay, immersing themselves in puzzles, colouring and tangrams, and playing active games outside. In the classroom, they have been thinking about ways in which exercise can benefit both our physical and mental health, how we can manage stress, the importance of talking to people and discussing the positives and negatives of using technology. We hope that Year 7 have enjoyed their sessions on AcE day and that they will have a restful and relaxing half term break.
Meanwhile as one of their Enrichment activities, the Year 8s started to work on their yearbooks, which they will take with them as a precious memento of their time at St Faith’s when they leave at the end of the summer term to move on to their senior schools. They also enjoyed a session exploring the science of sports psychology.
‘Animal Adventures’ is offered as one of our after-school activities and the children are encouraged to bring their own pets into school and tell their friends about them. This week it was the turn of Jack the miniature Sheltland Pony to pay a visit. Jack proved to be very popular and he enjoyed a good nibble of the grass while receiving plenty of patting, stroking and kind attention.
Seeing and Hearing
In Science this week, Year 6 have been continuing their Seeing and Hearing topic. To complete their work on light, Year 6 have been thinking about the uses of mirrors and they have finished their Science lessons this half-term by making their own periscopes and kaleidoscopes and analysing how they work.
This week we continued with our Parent-teacher meetings, which are an opportunity for our parents to meet their children’s teachers and to discuss their progress and Learning Habits as part of our partnership between home and school. I was delighted to have the opportunity to meet so many parents across different year groups and I hope that everyone found the meetings informative and helpful.
Once the clocks go back at half-term, it will be darker in the afternoon as pupils leave the school site. Please do remind your children about the need for cycle helmets, lights and high visibility items of clothing too. Pupils should also be wearing a warm waterproof coat. Thank you for your ongoing support.
Year 8 IAPS Girls’ Hockey Regionals
Last Friday, our Year 8 girls’ hockey team travelled to Oundle School with the intention of qualifying for the National Finals to be hosted at Haileybury College later in the term. Initially, they were informed that only two sides would qualify for the Nationals, and with 5 teams capable of winning the tournament, tension was high on the day. Despite having some of the squad feeling a little under the weather throughout the tournament, the girls were phenomenal. With the likes of Repton and Bilton Grange in our pool of six, the girls won all 5 pool matches, scoring 10 and conceding only 1. A 6-0 win followed by a 4-0 win in the semi-final meant that they had qualified and could relax and enjoy the final against Witham Hall. Losing 2-1 capped off the perfect day. Qualification for the National Finals had been achieved, whilst recognising that the team still has room for improvement. Nationals here we come!
Year 7 Girls’ County Cup
Turning to our Year 7 girls’ hockey team, on Tuesday they took part in the County Cup, which is always a highly competitive event. This consisted of six teams and five matches, with the top two teams qualifying for the East Regionals. Our team won all five of their matches, scoring 19 and conceding only 1. Mr Thompson observes that while these statistics are undoubtedly impressive, what is even more exciting is that the girls have the ability to improve their game still further. “It was a fantastic day, on which we saw some lovely hockey being played”.
Year 6 IAPS Girls’ Regionals
Last week our Year 6 girls travelled to Haileybury to compete against 19 other schools to qualify for the Nationals. Whilst our team lost in the quarter final to the eventual winners, St Micheal School, being placed fifth overall in the East of England, is still a highly impressive achievement and bodes very well for the future.
2024 Application Deadline
This is a polite reminder to mention the deadline for applications for Years 1-7 for September 2024 entry is 30 November 2023 and the entry assessments will take place in January 2024.
As an exciting culmination to this half-term, Year 5 pupils returned to school on Thursday evening for the ‘School Sleepover’. The aim of the occasion is to give our pupils an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company at the end of what has been a busy half term. Activities on offer included experiments in the Science lab and a night-time treasure hunt around school, followed by a sleepover in Ashburton Hall.
On Friday morning, the activities continued with visits from ‘The Animal Experience’ who brought in reptiles and other unusual animals. In addition, members of Cambridge Community Circus taught the children basic circus skills such as juggling and plate spinning ahead of their return home for their well-deserved half-term holiday. Overall it has been a tremendous effort by our staff to organise this very special and popular event for our Year 5 pupils and I am very grateful to everyone involved.
It remains for me to thank you for your generous support of our school throughout a busy and productive first half term. We will have much to look forward to during the second half of term, and we will be underway again very quickly, starting with the highly popular SFPA Fireworks event on Friday 3rd November. Before then, whether you are staying local or venturing further afield, may I wish you and your families a happy and restorative half-term and I look forward to welcoming the children back to school on Tuesday, 31st October.
With all best wishes,
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn